Guwahati, April 2: Opposition parties in Assam and Mizoram have called Union Minister Kiren Rijiju’s recent assurances on the citizenship amendment bill a poll gimmick and said people of the northeast were wise enough and wouldn’t be fooled by the BJP leadership.
Rijiju has earlier said that even if the contentious bill was passed in Parliament, it would not affect states protected under special provisions of the Constitution.
According to this, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland would be the two states in the region to remain outside the bill’s ambit. Rijiju had also said that the Centre would not impose any bill without the consent of the respective state governments.
The state of the Union minister of state for home affairs has triggered an uproar among opposition parties and local organisations.
Congress leader and Assam MP Gaurav Gogoi said, “Rijiju’s comment is not more important than (BJP president) Amit Shah’s, who himself is not sure about the bill. The BJP has redefined itself as the Bangladeshi Janta Party.”
General secretary of the All Assam Students’ Union Lurin Jyoti Gogoi said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had betrayed the people of the state by not implementing the Assam Accord as promised in the last election.
Mizoram Congress MLA Zodintluanga Ralte said Rijiju’s statement would not benefit the BJP in the upcoming general election. “When Shah has declared openly that the citizenship bill would be passed, where does Rijiju’s comment stand?” he said.
Former Mizoram chief minister and Congress leader Lalthanhawla earlier said the citizenship bill was a dangerous one which every individual and party would fight against.
However, Assam minister Ranjit Dutta said the BJP would continue to support the bill and as part of its agenda, would pass it in Parliament once voted to power. “General people don’t understand the bill, they only want development,” Dutta told reporters.
Widespread protests had engulfed the entire region after the bill was passed by the government in January. The bill seeks to provide citizenship nationality to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis who have migrated from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India. (News18)